June 10, 2023

Olivia Jennings was thrilled to hit her twenties. She was dwelling by herself and dividing her days between work, research and socializing.

The 21-year-old was “extraordinarily unbiased and busy,” she instructed Newsweek, till she was halted in her tracks by what appeared a primary to be a easy urinary tract an infection.

Jennings, a university pupil and part-time retail assistant who lives in Melbourne, seen in direction of the tip of 2022 that she saved feeling sick.

Olivia Jennings earlier than her analysis, left, and in hospital starting her remedy, proper. She has shared her experiences on social media.

‘It Felt Like My Organs Harm’

Jennings initially handed off her flu-like signs because the lasting results of coronavirus. She additionally had again ache, however attributed this to a fall.

“My signs started with random decrease again ache, it felt like my organs harm. I additionally had flu-like signs actually usually for 2 months. I had a swollen lymph node on the left of my neck, and I used to be getting much less match within the health club.”

The decrease again ache began round October 2022, however Jennings visited the physician’s workplace 5 occasions earlier than being despatched to the emergency room in January this 12 months.

On January 11, blood exams and a urine pattern have been taken from her, resulting in a analysis of stage 3B Hodgkin lymphoma two weeks later.

“The blood exams confirmed I used to be anemic however my iron seemed excessive, which was unusual,” she mentioned. “The inflammatory markers have been elevated and continued to extend, indicating there was an an infection someplace.

“This prompted the physician to do a urine pattern, which seemed positive nevertheless it did develop micro organism when it was despatched off, which is once they known as to inform me I wanted to go to the emergency room for intravenous antibiotics.

“They did a CT scan to rule out kidney stones and it confirmed swollen lymph nodes all by way of my abdomen. In addition they unintentionally captured the underside of my coronary heart, which confirmed a good quantity of fluid.”

Olivia Jennings was diagnosed aged 20
Olivia Jennings is assessed in hospital. She was simply 20 when she was identified with stage 3B Hodgkin lymphoma.

‘It Was a Coincidence That the CT Scan Revealed Olivia’s Most cancers’

Hodgkin lymphoma impacts the lymphatic system, which helps to combat off infections and controls the move of fluids across the physique. The illness usually begins within the lymph nodes and causes swelling, however also can have an effect on the bone marrow, digestive tract and spleen.

It’s uncommon, representing simply 0.5 % of most cancers diagnoses within the U.S., in response to the Nationwide Most cancers Institute. About 223,500 People have been dwelling with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2020. The institute estimates that there can be 8,830 new instances this 12 months and about 900 deaths.

Dr. Laura Purdy, a household medication doctor from Nashville, Tennessee, has highlighted how uncommon Jennings’ scenario was, explaining that “UTI signs will not be associated to Hodgkin lymphoma.”

The presence of this most cancers is often flagged up by:

  • Swollen lymph nodes within the neck, armpits or groin
  • Fever
  • Night time sweats
  • Weight reduction
  • Fatigue
  • Itching.

As many of those signs may be mistaken for one thing else, individuals who have them ought to monitor how lengthy they final.

Purdy instructed Newsweek: “To diagnose Hodgkin lymphoma, medical doctors usually carry out a biopsy of the lymph node or different affected tissue. Different exams comparable to CT scans, PET scans and blood exams might also be achieved to find out the stage of the most cancers.

“It was a coincidence that the CT scan revealed Olivia’s most cancers, due to this fact it is important for people to concentrate to different signs.”

She added that “Hodgkin lymphoma generally is a very aggressive type of most cancers” if it’s not identified and handled quickly.

Olivia Jennings in hospital for chemotherapy
Olivia Jennings in hospital for chemotherapy. Hodgkin lymphoma is uncommon, making up simply 0.5 % of most cancers diagnoses within the U.S.

‘I Thought, Absolutely It Is not My Time To Go But’

It has been a turbulent few months since Jennings was identified on January 25. After 4 rounds of chemotherapy, she now has a extra optimistic prognosis, however she admits the invention left her fearing for her life.

“I used to be actually in a lot shock, and I feel I nonetheless am to a level,” she mentioned. “I simply bear in mind saying to myself within the emergency room rest room that I’ll have to seek out energy I did not know I had, and pondering that there is nonetheless a lot left that I wish to do in life. I believed, absolutely it is not my time to go but.

“Once I arrived on the hospital for the scan, they really mentioned that they would not have even achieved a CT scan and simply despatched me house with antibiotics, as a result of their emergency room was so busy. I’d have been identified sooner or later, nevertheless it might have been the distinction between life or demise.

“From the start they mentioned they deliberate to totally remedy me, and a lot of the most cancers is gone now. There’s just a bit most cancers left close to my coronary heart. If I had the prospect to catch it earlier, I want I might have.”

Olivia Jennings was diagnosed in January 2023
Olivia Jennings in 2023. Blood exams and a urine pattern led to her analysis in January.

‘Sharing My Story Is Necessary for Spreading Consciousness’

Since posting about “how a UTI saved my life” on TikTok, Jennings has linked with many different most cancers sufferers and acquired a “super-positive response.” She has even inspired others with comparable signs to get checked out.

Jennings mentioned: “I have been shocked by what number of ladies there are in comparable positions to me, who’re nervous in regards to the unwanted effects of chemotherapy and dropping their hair. If I can present up authentically on social media, with out hair and being weak, then I hope that makes them really feel higher too.

“It makes me really feel so joyful that I could make us all really feel much less alone and scared about being in hospital. At first, as a 20-year-old with most cancers, I felt very remoted, plus posting on-line is a enjoyable distraction for me. I do really feel that sharing my story is essential for spreading consciousness.”

Is there a well being difficulty that is worrying you? Tell us through well [email protected]. We are able to ask consultants for recommendation, and your story might be featured on Newsweek.